The brother of a former charter school principal has admitted to an ethics violation nearly two years after he entered into an illegal school contract authorized by his sister, according to state ethics officials.
Bobby Hardrick, owner of BCH Services Group and the brother of former Miller-McCoy Academy for Mathematics and Business principal Tiffany Hardrick, admitted to violating state ethics laws and paid a $5,000 fine, according to a consent opinion the Louisiana Ethics Board will approve Friday.
The opinion, which wasn’t immediately available on the ethics board website Thursday, “concludes that a violation of L.A. R.S. 42:1113 occurred.”
That law maintains that public servants can’t award public contracts to their immediate family members:
“No public servant … or member of such a public servant’s immediate family, or legal entity in which he has a controlling interest shall bid on or enter into any contract, subcontract, or other transaction that is under the supervision or jurisdiction of the agency of such public servant.”
In 2012, auditors flagged Miller-McCoy for the Hardrick siblings’ arrangement. Tiffany Hardrick, along with former co-principal Keith Sanders, cancelled a transportation contract with Hammond’s Transportation and awarded it to brother Bobby Hardrick’s company without board approval, Miller-McCoy’s board has maintained.
Ethics administrator Kathleen Allen wouldn’t confirm or deny whether the state is also investigating Tiffany Hardrick for her role in awarding the contract. Auditors faulted her for hiring Hardrick and another family member, Latanya Graham, a former college programs director. Miller-McCoy’s board reported both incidents to the Louisiana Ethics Board.
State ethics officials can decide to file a consent opinion, in lieu of filing formal charges, Allen said. If a consent opinion is issued, the parties involved don’t have to appear for a public hearing.
Penalties for hiring family members can reach up to $10,000 per violation.
Bobby Hardrick, who no longer works for Miller-McCoy, didn’t return a call Wednesday requesting comment. Tiffany Hardrick – now an assistant superintendent of Newark Public Schools in New Jersey – also didn’t respond to a request for comment. Neither did two spokesmen with the Newark District Office.